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IT IS UNETHICAL FOR COUNSEL TO MAKE APPEARANCE TO ASK FOR ADJOURNMENT TO ENABLE SENIOR COUNSEL CONDUCT PROCEEDINGS

Dictum

Furthermore, it is unethical, undesirable and intolerable that a counsel should attend or appear in court in a matter or case merely to ask for an adjournment to enable a more senior colleague to conduct the matter. See the case of Madu v. Okeke (1998) 5 NWLR (Pt.548) 159.

— Garba, JCA. Shona-Jason v Omega Air (2005) – CA/L/418/2000

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COUNSEL SHOULD NOT MISQUOTE JUDGE

I will pause here to advise that learned counsel when referring to statements made by trial Judges should not impute words not said by them, or misquote their statements and present statements which were not actually uttered or remarked by them (the Judges). A close look at the passage quoted above leaves one in no doubt that the Judge did not say that the depositions were of no assistance to him . Rather, what he said was that they were of little assistance to him . He is therefore misunderstood or quoted out of context.

– Sanusi JCA. Enejo v. Nasir (2006)

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COUNSEL SHOULD NOT JOIN THE PUBLIC TO RAISE BIAS ON A JUDGE

The above quoted obiter of the learned trial judge did not form part of the ratio decidendi of the judgment and is a good example of the less said, the better by way of obiter in a judgment. In any event, the current penchant of counsel to allege bias against judicial officers under every imagined pretext must be highly deprecated, condemned and discouraged. It does not enhance the confidence of the public in the judicial process and only serves to erode the rule of law. Justice is rooted in confidence. If the parties felt strongly that there was a fiduciary relationship between the Bench and any lawyer or party, it was their duty to draw attention to it BEFORE the case was heard and determined by the judge. It is obviously the antics of a bad loser to cry foul after the case had been lost.

— H.M. Ogunwumiju, JCA. Godwin Ukah & Ors. V. Christopher A. Onyia & Ors. (CA/E/295/2008, 21 Jan 2016)

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COUNSEL AGREEMENT WITH OPPOSING PARTY IS BINDING

In Swinfen v. Swinfen 26 LJ Co P 97, Blackburn, J, stated the position as follows:- “Counsel therefore being ordinarily retained to conduct a cause without any limitation, the apparent authority with which he is clothed when he appears to conduct the cause is to do everything which in the exercise of his discretion, he may think best for the interest of his client in the conduct of the cause.and if within the limits of this apparent authority he enters into agreement with the opposite Counsel as to the cause, on every principle this agreement should be binding.”

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DRAWING UNINTENDED CONCLUSIONS FROM JUDGES STATEMENTS

Sir James Bacon, V.C., said in Green’s Case (1874) L.R. 18 Eq C.A. 428:- “In the judgments which Judges pronounce, this is inevitable, that having their minds full, not only of the cases before them, but of all the principles involved in the cases which have been referred to, it very often happens that a Judge, in stating as much as is necessary to decide the case before him, does not express all that may be said upon the subject. That leaves the judgment open sometimes to misconstruction, and enables ingenious advocates by taking out certain passages, to draw conclusions which the Judge never meant to be drawn from the words he used.”

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COURT CANNOT QUESTION COUNSEL ON INSTRUCTION TO ACT FOR CLIENT

Again, a Court lacks jurisdiction to look into whether or not a counsel has instruction or briefing of his client to appear in Court. See State V Mathew (2018) 9 NWLR (Pt. 1625) 399, 412. It is only the party that is being represented by counsel that can question the representation.

– Ekanem JCA. C.O.P. v. Doolor (2020) – CA/MK/182/2017

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COUNSEL SHOULD NOT MANUFACTURE FACTS IN COURT

Learned counsel should refrain from manufacturing facts to suit the interest of his client. As a minister in the Temple of Justice, counsel should always be guided by raw facts as disclosed by the evidence before the Court. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, learned counsel should heed to this advice against the future.

– Adamu Jauro, JSC. Enabeli v. State (2021)

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